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Wassailing and other weird folk rituals

GUEST,Peter Laban 08 Feb 12 - 08:04 AM
Owen Woodson 08 Feb 12 - 08:18 AM
Manitas_at_home 08 Feb 12 - 08:23 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 08 Feb 12 - 08:26 AM
Tradsinger 09 Feb 12 - 06:58 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 09 Feb 12 - 12:43 PM
CupOfTea 09 Feb 12 - 02:39 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 12 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Feb 12 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,BigDaddy 10 Feb 12 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Feb 12 - 04:53 AM
Tradsinger 10 Feb 12 - 05:45 AM
theleveller 10 Feb 12 - 06:00 AM
theleveller 10 Feb 12 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Feb 12 - 06:32 AM
doc.tom 10 Feb 12 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,CS 10 Feb 12 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Feb 12 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,CS 10 Feb 12 - 08:00 AM
theleveller 10 Feb 12 - 08:46 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Feb 12 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Feb 12 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Feb 12 - 09:35 AM
glueman 10 Feb 12 - 09:55 AM
Owen Woodson 10 Feb 12 - 10:13 AM
GUEST 10 Feb 12 - 10:37 AM
glueman 10 Feb 12 - 10:50 AM
Owen Woodson 10 Feb 12 - 11:45 AM
glueman 10 Feb 12 - 11:58 AM
Owen Woodson 10 Feb 12 - 12:00 PM
glueman 10 Feb 12 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Feb 12 - 12:14 PM
glueman 10 Feb 12 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Feb 12 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Eliza 10 Feb 12 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,CS 10 Feb 12 - 02:18 PM
Jane of 'ull 10 Feb 12 - 05:26 PM
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Subject: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 08:04 AM

Article in today's Guardian


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 08:18 AM

What on earth is weird about Wassailing?


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 08:23 AM

Singing to trees? Not strange at all.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 08 Feb 12 - 08:26 AM

The only Major source for Wassail customs is to be found here-

Absolutely amazing- nothing else even close get yours now before they run out

http://mysite.verizon.net/cbladey/wassailbook/wassailbook.html


http://mysite.verizon.net/cbladey/wassailbook/wassailbook.html

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Tradsinger
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 06:58 AM

The major source for information on the Gloucestershire wassail, which was a house-to-house custom, not an orchard wassail is
here.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 12:43 PM

A very good source indeed.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: CupOfTea
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 02:39 PM

I gather it's a "weird folk ritual" only to people who don't have it as part of their own tradition. To me the peculiaity (in both meanings: odd & unique) is a major part of the charm of folk rituals from many traditions. Lots of people who don't live in Glostershire or Cornwall or Kentucky sing the wassail songs from those regions. In doing research for my Folk & Faith program, I came across the Wassail page which gave me some intersting thoughts on the matter.

I wonder, is "weirdness" going to attract or repel attention? Is any media good?


Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 02:53 PM

Aw, I thought we folkies were supposed to take pride in our weirdness. I think the text of the article is worth preserving. Here it is:

    Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
    Singing to apple trees, kissing a straw bear and wrestling a keg of beer down a hill ... country rituals may sound silly, but they're good for the soul, says Tom Cox

    by Tom Cox
    guardian.co.uk
    Wednesday 8 February 2012

    "Excuse me. You're not on the way to the wassail, by any chance?" The hood on my duffle coat has a blind spot, but it was a windy January night in Darkest Norfolk, my friends Jack and Hannah and I were feeling a little shaken after visiting an Anglo Saxon burial mound in fading light, and the stranger, whose name turned out to be Jim, really did seem to come out of nowhere.

    I jumped a little at the sound of his voice. On the other hand, I was quite pleased. OK, so there weren't many people on the street in the village of Kenninghall at this time on a Saturday, and if you saw three of them, two of whom had beards, and there was a small folklore event being staged not far away in 30 minutes, it would be logical to assume that they might be on their way to it. Yet the fact remained: Jim, an organic vegetable grower from Bungay, had spotted Jack, Hannah and me, and thought, "They look like people who would wassail!" As gratifying pagan assumptions about my appearance went, this was up there with the time an old man in a Norwich pub ran his hand along the lapel of my corduroy jacket and said, "You look like you're from The Wicker Man."

    As I confessed to Jim, it would in fact be my first time taking part in the central ritual of the evening. When I'd told people about my intention to go wassailing, many asked, "Is that like abseiling?" Wassailing - Old English for "be healthy" - is either far less brave or much braver than that, depending on whether you're a folkophobic sort who runs in terror from people in hare's head masks. It comes in two forms: the house-visiting wassail, which involves wishing health upon your neighbours via drink and song, and the rural wassail, such as the one taking place in Kenninghall, usually entailing a visit to an orchard to sing to apple trees and splash cider on them in an effort to encourage a good crop for the coming year. It sounds silly, but then most things that are best for the human spirit do.

    I'd seen photos from previous Kenninghall wassails in my local newspaper: it was the kind of offbeat story you got sandwiched between more pressing ones about a village-wide power cut or a peacock that had been trying to shag a petrol pump just off the A140. The pictures – usually featuring a robed, leafy-faced man called The Lord Of Misrule – had intrigued me, but the date of the event seemed a well-kept secret. This year, though, I'd been able to find it out, by eschewing the internet and partaking in the antediluvian English custom known as "asking some people who might know".

    Folks had their varying reasons for attending the Kenninghall wassail. Shortly after arriving, I introduced myself to The Lord Of Misrule, who explained that when not wassailing he was a homeopath called Steve, and he was here primarily due to his concern for the earth's resources. There was Jim, who was interested in what singing could do for his own orchard. Then there was me, who was there primarily due to liking few things better than pretending I'm in some lost footage of the superior initial incarnation of Steeleye Span during the winter of 1970.

    Festivals with a difference

    With my attempts to get more involved in country life, my definition of "festival-going" has changed recently. The last two festivals I attended before Kenninghall respectively involved several hundred men wrestling a keg of beer down a Leicestershire hillside and a giant straw animal-person parading drunkenly through the streets of a Fenland town.

    Last summer was my first time at Hallaton Bottle Kicking Festival, in which the neighbouring Midlands villages of Hallaton and Medbourne attempt to force some old-fashionedly packaged alcohol over their home streams whilst losing a vast amount of footwear. Described by Clive Aslet in his book, Villages Of Britain, as "a cross between a rugby scrum and a civil war", it has few rules, though "weapons and eye gouging" are banned. I was particularly interested, since as a Beano reader I'd always wondered what it would be like to see a real life ball of dust with some arms and legs sticking out of it. I just about resisted the temptation to join in on the basis I'd only recently had my suede loafers reheeled.

    I've always kept my distance from The Straw Bear, in the decade that I've been watching it gambol and dance around the Cambridgeshire town of Whittlesey to celebrate Plough Monday. A while ago, The Straw Bear Festival also ran an exchange with a German town with its own similar festival. This permitted the more diminutive German Bear to join in the jolly-yet-macabre parade, stopping every so often, as tradition dictated, to grab a female off the street, releasing her only when she had granted him a kiss. The German bear was absent this year – I don't think those I heard speculating about prison were serious – but his straw shoes were filled with ample eccentricity by the bearers of a stretcher laden with "dead" teddy bears, and a man wearing a pretend horse around his waist and feeding it mini Shredded Wheats.

    Straw Bear is a notable omission from Here's A Health To The Barley Mow, a brilliant new DVD compiled by the BFI, featuring rare archive clips of ancient rural games and folk rituals. The footage on this collection goes back to 1912, but these customs of mummers plays and primeval rugby games mostly continue, and, if you looked hard enough, you could probably attend one of them every week.

    One element that could be viewed as surprising at Whittlesey and Hallaton is the large number of attendees in the 15-25 age group. You could put this down to the extensive opportunities presented at both for binge drinking, but I think it goes beyond that. Excepting the isolated occasions when racists have tried to claim them for their own, these festivals put us in touch with our Englishness in a healthy way, connecting us with our surroundings in a manner that's increasingly refreshing when so many of us live online.

    The first time I attended Straw Bear, I did so with the wry, distanced eye of a recent London escapee. I'm still a little wary of it: I find it fascinating and uneasy in equal measure, and not all the unease is the intentional, pantomime kind. But at Kenninghall, joining in the festival's very own wassailing song, 'Dance Round The Firelight', and shouting to scare away the "nasty frost giants" upon the Lord Of Misrule's urging, I felt caught up rapturously in a timeless, wintry, shared warmth. You also know you've had a good evening when you're invited for soup with a man dressed as a fox and come away with a note in your pocket reading, "Call Becky re sheep".

    "It's very Wicker Man," said Hannah. Alright, so The Wicker Man's setting, Summerisle, did feature human sacrifice, but take that away, and what did you have? You had a very picturesque place to live, with some great music and a strong sense of community. Only this was arguably even better. Summerisle had the songs and the polo necks, but what it lacked was a really good population centre nearby, with decent arts funding and a Wagamama. As we stood warming ourselves by the bonfire, listening to a lady with antlers try to recruit us for her morris dancing troupe, pagan life had never been so good.

    • Tom Cox's latest book, Talk To The Tail, is published by Simon And Schuster. Follow him on Twitter at @cox_tom


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 03:41 PM

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro....


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 12:39 AM

Nothing weird. Except by the standards of people who have no clue about country rituals, folklife/folkways, cultural heritage, etc. One person's weird is another's daily normal fare. My idea of weird is allowing oneself to be bombarded constantly by media or all kinds, not knowing the current phase of the moon, not knowing the usual time of year to expect the first hard frost, not knowing (without cheating) when the sun rises and sets in your part of the world. Weird is always walking on pavement or flooring and never on the earth herself (particularly without shoes). Weird is not being able to spend a weekend in the country without cell phone, lap top, TV, etc. Weird is not being able to identify trees and foliage in your own part of the world. Weird is not being able to name your ancestors three or four generations back without joining "ancestrydotcom." Weird is not knowing the best time for planting, or even how to plant a decent garden. I could go on, but you get the idea.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 04:53 AM

I could go on, but you get the idea.

I sure do get the idea - and I'd call that sactimonious Folk Correctness, seeing that folklife/folkways these days are entirely urban & defined by pretty much everything you react against, although ovbiously you have a computer which rather comtaminates the righteous purity of your thesis. I'm using Folk here in its most Human sense, BTW; one which sees our Cultural Heritage in terms of what it is, rather than what it ought to be. This is why the old folk rituals (or rather their post-modern faux-pagan revival / reinvented versions in all their prosciptive glory) are seen as being weird - simply because they are no longer relevant to human life, saving an elite of well-to-do country-dwelling Folkier Than Thou types who feel they are somehow keeping these things alive by reinventing them.

A Folk Custom dies as one thing, but it is always reinvented as something else entirely...


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Tradsinger
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 05:45 AM

Interesting thoughts. I have nothing against invented customs, such as orchard wassailing in Gloucestershire - it's harmless, sociable and everyone has a good time.

However, I do take issue when people assume that it was always so in the tradition and that wassailing in Gloucestershire has of necessity been the custom of wassailing apple trees. The old tradition was definitley a house-to-house tradition and none of the accounts of wassailing in Gloucestershire mention orchards or apples. The danger then is that such urban myths get perpetuated and I have read several articles in the media on the the history of wassailing in Gloucestershire going on about apples and trees. And there is a further "danger" that these non-researched sources become seen as authoratitive in people's minds and so through to the media.

I am not trying to be a folk "purist" here. I just people would try to get their facts right.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 06:00 AM

"they are no longer relevant to human life, saving an elite of well-to-do country-dwelling Folkier Than Thou types"

Bit of a sweepuing statement that, Sweeney. I reckon any excuse for a piss-up is valid. Wassailing is as relevant as, say, carol singing or the cringe-making faux-jollity of state-instigated jubilee celebrations for an anachronistic monarchy.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 06:28 AM

...or harvest festival, come to that.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 06:32 AM

I think the Monarchy are a good deal more relevant than that, theleveller; there's nothing faux about it: they are an essential aspect of the inner psyche of UK popular culture, folklife & otherwise. Unlike Wassailing - a piss-up is one thing, but a piss-up with proscriptive meaning and archaic deeply symbolic traditional ritual is faux on quite another level. But then again Folk is Faux by default, so maybe that's cool too, eh??


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: doc.tom
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 06:56 AM

"folklife/folkways these days are entirely urban" - for the urbanite (or should that be urbane-ite?)obviously. But then, urbocentricity has taken over pretty much everything these days. And as for the statement, actually, NO THEY'RE NOT.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 07:38 AM

All ritual activity is created by man, and so too are the collectively ascribed meaning/s of such ritual activity - be it a ritual which has been performed for a thousand years or more or something in the line of a completely 'artificially' generated piece of village 'folklore' such as Derren Brown's "Lucky Dog" http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/news/local/derren_brown_the_butcher_and_the_so_called_lucky_dog_con_trick_1_3959655
Such Man-made meaning is like a human glue which helps to forge a sense of a cohearent narrative, both individually and socially/collectively. I don't think there's anything artificial about any of these contemporary/folk social rituals. I like the random yet purposeful borrowings from the past, it's all just a part of people doing what they've always done IMO.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 07:52 AM

collectively ascribed meaning/s of such ritual activity

With the old customs & rituals, the medium was always the message. It wasn't until Antiquarians & Folklorists came along that such things were ascribed the meanings & associations they have today. The underlying theme of Folklore remains one of a Scholastic elite asigning meaning & provenance to the actions of the unlettered peasantry who had no understanding of the real significance of the things they did. This is classic Steamfolk really, a past reinvented for the present - as such it's completely artificial.

NO THEY'RE NOT

Yes they are (and no need to shout).


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 08:00 AM

Hmm, I don't see anything 'artificial' as such in Steampunk/folk either: all man-made constructs are natural to man. Music, art, ritual etc, all completely man-made and completely natural to man. It feels like you're creating a false divide somehow.

People purloin sacred artifacts from the past and create new things with new meanings, jolly good and keep on I say.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 08:46 AM

Sweeney, I think your assumption that the rituals are now entirely divorced from the activities that bred them is incorrect. Those that pertain to the seasons, growing, harvesting and feasting on the fruits of one's labour, for example, are becoming increasingly relevant with the exponential interest in home grown produce (sales of vegetable seeds now exceed sales of flowers seeds), both in an urban and rural environment. You only have to look at the increasing demand for allotments, a once-declining national institution with which the British people, in particular, have had an interesting social and cultural relationship, delightfully described by 'the chuckling anarchist', Colin Ward, in his book 'The Allotment'.

To give a quick, personal example to illustrate my point: if you have planted an orchard, watched it grow, tended to the seasonal needs of the trees, worried about late frosts, drought, pests and diseases, the decline of bumble and honey bees, the right time to harvest the different varieties, and their various eating and culinary properties, to say nothing of their history and, indeed, folklore, then wassailing has a particular resonance, even if only as a celebration of the crop you have produced.

Similarly, the idea of farming and gardening by the phases of the moon – something that was once taken for granted - is also regaining popularity. In fact, the RHS recently undertook a trail of this and proved its efficacy.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 09:10 AM

if you have planted an orchard, watched it grow, tended to the seasonal needs of the trees, worried about late frosts, drought, pests and diseases, the decline of bumble and honey bees, the right time to harvest the different varieties, and their various eating and culinary properties, to say nothing of their history and, indeed, folklore, then wassailing has a particular resonance

I do sympathise with this, but it seems like the wrong way of looking at it. I mean, there are lots of places where apples were grown where orchard-wassailing never used to happen, Gloucestershire apparently being one of them.

It seems to me that the universalising neo-pagan approach, which purports to revive folk customs by getting at their meaning ("it's all about the seasons"/"it's all about Mother Earth"/"it's all about death and renewal"/etc), is the polar opposite of actually having folk customs. Why does a straw bear parade around Whittlesey soon after Plough Monday? Because that's what they do in Whittlesey; it's not a straw monkey, it's not in Spalding and it's not on Shrove Tuesday, it just is what it is.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 09:25 AM

The falsity lies in the proscription, CS - the assumption of an underlying correctness, or naturalness, that exists as being different to any other construct. Folklore is predicated on such assumptions, the very falsity of which (i.e their contrivance & subsequent religiosity) is pretty easily established. Everything that everyone does can be seen in terms of Folklore; daily ritual, routine, language, technology, supermarkets, rioting, sex, religion, musical experience, recreation, decor, fashion, hairstyles, diet, etc. etc. This thing that becomes Folklore by dint of the Mudcat Prefix is something else, I fear - it's a Fauxlore or Fakelore which isn't simply a matter of wholesale reivention, rather a notion that this stuff bespeaks of a greater significance that might stop short of Neo-Paganism, but is nevertheless shrouded in a mystique that isn't far off, espectionally when people carp on about it being Our Own Good Culture and an essential aspect of our National Identity. It's then I recall the themes of Nazi Volkish compliance explored in The Wicker Man in which The Individual (doesn't matter who) is sacrificed for the cultish good of the community. Humans have a propensity for atrocity in which our Volkish yearnings for primitive spectacle might play a real part; the problem, I fear, is one that underwrites the Folk Myth as a whole - which is that of correctness and mob-mentality in which the individual has no place.

And yet The Individual is all there is...

Art is different in that it is all about The Individual - the Individual as the perceptive / creative agent of constantly evolving & changing Tradition. Grayson Perry is a good example of this, but few would think of him as an agent of Folklore as such; an agent of Culture certainly, in which The Aesthetic defines the individual, who goes on to redefine The Aesthetic. This is the way of all Culture, but once Folk enters the equation it acquires a solemnity of purpose whereby the sancitity of Arrested Tradition is all. I can't really go along with that - as I said above, Folk is Faux because unlike the rest of it, it lacks the requisite innocence of what it's purpose is. Like Folk Music, it's something else entirely from what it thinks it is simply because it is born from (and perpetuated by) a theorectical perspective rather than a pragmatic one. Thus it remains, deliberately and self consciously, Weird whilst simultaneously revelling in notions of reactionary and conservative propriety & correctness.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 09:35 AM

You only have to look at the increasing demand for allotments

I grew up in Alloment country & culture; everyone had allotments, but their fuction was entirely pragmatic. I don't recall any Wassailing or suchlike silliness & Folklore, no more than I remember Folk Songs being such by the old miners who lovingly tended them. We did have leek shows, pigeon crees, pigsties and potstoves though, and an archicture of recyling that resulted in the most beautiful & beguiling landscapes where I spent the years of my wild & blissful childhood.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: glueman
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 09:55 AM

Just been reading Kai Roberts' 'Grave Concerns - The Follies and Folklore of Robin Hood's Final Resting Place'. As fine an example of contemporary mores overlaid on legend as one could wish for.

The definition of a traditional festival is a) does it bring people together, b) do they derive enjoyment from it, c) can they get a drink, d) does it occur more than once, e) can they dress up without fear of arrest.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 10:13 AM

Is that Kai Roberts' definition of a traditional festival? If so I shall be keeping as away from his book as I possibly can.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 10:37 AM

"a notion that this stuff bespeaks of a greater significance that might stop short of Neo-Paganism, but is nevertheless shrouded in a mystique that isn't far off, "

Yes, I follow this - and yet the the greater percentage of attendees of any collective ritual will no doubt say "Oh is it really? That's interesting." Then continue to shout "Boo!" at the appointed moment, wave their lighters slowly in the air, throw toast, eat pancakes or whatever on other ascribed days while promptly forgetting all about any supposed "deeper meaning" of the village's annual waddling green mann/jack frost/bear till next year's festivities. In fact if interviewed by local telly's local investigative journalist asking about the "deeper Pagan significance" of these weird events, they'll be most likely say something like "It's a lovely opportunity for the village to get together!"

As for "the individual is all there is" this may be so on an abstract philosophical level but not on any level that is easily reconciled with the reality of lived experience - particularly in a society such as ours which uses solitary confinement as one of it's most extreme forms of punishment.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: glueman
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 10:50 AM

No Owen, mine alone. I have no idea what Kai Roberts's definition consists of, or whether he has an opinion on the matter. I bring his book up simply as an exemplar of good detective work and sharp thinking on a totemic folklore artifact.

Can you point out where my definition is deficient?


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 11:45 AM

It's deficient from start to finish. IE.,

a) does it bring people together,
What festival doesn't.

b) do they derive enjoyment from it,
If they didn't derive enjoyment from it they wouldn't participate.

c) can they get a drink,
What if they can't? does that stop it from being traditional?

d) does it occur more than once,
So anything which occurs more than once (IE a minimum of twice), must be a traditional festival.

e) can they dress up without fear of arrest.
In what? If they went round naked they'd be in fear of arrest, and of getting bloody cold.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: glueman
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 11:58 AM

At what point, chronologically or in any other way, do the definitions I gave operate as 'traditional' then?


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 12:00 PM

They don't, that's the whole point. They could apply to practically anything.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: glueman
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 12:12 PM

Yes, that's the beauty of it? Or is this one of those threads where you have to be dead to be considered fully traditional?


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 12:14 PM

They certainly apply pretty well within revival times - and it rather seems all things Traditional TM came with the revival..


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: glueman
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 12:19 PM

There should be a Merlin type character, a traditional ombudsman, who attends all such events and declares them valid or otherwise. One bang of his staff for yes, two for no.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 12:58 PM

I do hope he'll be a proper traditional Merlin with a proper traditional beard?
No BBC sponsored beardless youths please!


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 01:11 PM

I find the tone of the Guardian article very patronising, along the lines of "Aren't the local peasants and their funny rituals quaint?" Darkest Norfolk? That's where I live! I've also been several times to Whittlesea Straw Bear, and found it perfectly normal and extremely enjoyable, but not something to make silly remarks about, as if one had landed on Mars. This chap is displaying only too clearly his London roots I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 02:18 PM

"I've ... been several times to Whittlesea Straw Bear, and found it perfectly normal and extremely enjoyable,"

Haha, Well said Eliza!


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Subject: RE: Wassailing and other weird folk rituals
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 05:26 PM

Wassailing was the inspiration for many great folk songs, so I'll drink to that!


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